Marx's Idea of Workers' Alienation From the Production Process

Marx's Idea of Workers' Alienation From the Production Process

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Alienation is a process in which humanity is progressively turned into
stranger in world created by labour. (A. Swingewood 2000 p32). It
succeeds in creating vast accumulations of wealth at one pole of
society, an increase in value of thing achieved only at the cost of
progressive defaulting human life itself. Alienation however, occur
only when humanity having externalised itself, encounter it’s own
activity, it essence, operating as an external, alien and oppressive

Comphrensively, Alienation is the process where by people become
foreign to the world they are living, we can also say, is the
transformation of people own labour into power which rules them as if
by a kind of natural or supra- human law. The origin of Alienation is
FETISHISM-, which means the belief that inanimate things (COMMODITIES)
have human powers that will be able to govern the activity of human
beings. [Estrangement &Alienation].

Marx points out, that Alienation is the human labour, which created
culture and history. The formation of an exchange economic is the
outcome of a historical process, and capitalism is a historically
specific system of production. (Anthony Diggens 1987 p10). Marx
analysis of Alienation in capitalist production start from a
contemporary economic fact, the fact that capitalist advances, the
more impoverished the workers become.

The owner of land and capital makes capitalist mode of production
possible with their enormous wealth. The main point of Marx’s
discussion is that, in capitalism, the material object s which are
produced become treated on a par with worker himself- just as they are
on a purely theoretical level. The worker becomes an ever-cheaper
commodity, the more goods he produces. [Marx] (Ibid p11).

The Worker lacks control over disposal of his product, since others
appropriate what he produces, so that he does not benefit from it. If
the product of labour is alienated, the product itself must be active
alienation. (Ibid p12). Alienated of labour reduces human productive
activity to the level of adoption to, rather than active mystery of

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nature. This detaches the human individual from his species being from
what makes the life the life of human species distinct from that of

Productive activity is governed solely by most rudimentary needs of
physical existence, which could not have been possible under prior
forms of productive system. The character of alienated labour does not
express a tension between men in nature. For Marx human beings are
quintessentially beings who must be productive, who, that is, must
interact with nature and other human beings to make things and effect
changes in the world around us? By species being is to be distance
from our fundamental nature as productive beings. Now how is this
possible? How can we, or our lives, be in opposition to or not in the
proper relationship to our very nature? To clarify this we must little
more closely at what our nature or species being is.

Why is productive activity central to our nature? And what,
precisely, does Marx mean by productive activity? For Marx, our
productive activity has four essential features.

Firstly, productive activity is necessary if human beings are to
survive, we must be productive in some respect in order to live,
unless we are so rich that we simply spend our time counting the
proceeds of our investments. But doing this is (minimally) productive
activity. And buying and eating, food clothing and other goods are,
for Marx partly productive. The necessity of productive activity in
our lives is, of course, is not distinctive to human beings. It is a
trait we share with animals.

Secondly, we are unlike animals because we engage in conscious
production activity. Our productive activity is distinct from animal
in a number of ways. First, we make our productive activity itself a
product of will. We can make choices about what and how to produce.
Animals produce only to satisfy their survival. And they produce only
in ways that are fixed to the nature. But human beings can produce
many kinds of goods in many different ways. As Marx said, ‘’man is
capable of producing according to the standards of every species and
applying to each object its inherent standard; hence, man also
produces in accordance with the laws of beauty’’.

Thirdly, Human productive activity is social in nature. This is true
in a number of different respects. Much of what we produce is produced
with either directly or indirectly. We produce with other people
directly when we work with them to produce particular goods. In
addition, we produce only because other people are willing to consume
them. As Marx puts it in the Grundyism, ‘’no production, no
consumption; no consumption, no production.’’

Lastly, human being find productive activities intrinsically satisfy.
In other part, this is because activity allows us to develop and
exercises our capacities, faculties, and abilities. Central to Marx’s
account of human nature is the notion that human beings are not slugs.
Human productive activity is also intrinsically satisfied because it
transforms our environment, making what is sometimes a difficult
natural habitat into a partly human creation. We work on nature, what
Marx call ‘’man inorganic body,’’ transforming to suit our purposes.
In doing so we objectify our powers or realise our capacities,
faculties and abilities in concrete phenomena around us.

Alienation of species is the human species; Marx contended that human
beings as alienated from there own species being. Marx believe that
human beings live in an active relation to the natural world and in
this sense it have certain characteristic which mark them of from
other species. (Ken Morrison, 1995 pp95-96).

Merry Maids- this is act of capitalist for a single person controlling
and directing the labour market by using the word maids. This single
employer Merry is trying to advertise is labour market that it
involves a lot of maid. In the attach Reading A of Barbara
Ehrenreich. Marx explained that alienation from productive activity
emerged from the labouring process and this is the inability of the
workers to control their labour and self-defining characteristics of
labour activity. This can abstract from paragraph 3 part 2-question1
essay question; if there are complaints on either side, they are
address to the franchise owner; the customer or the actual workers
need never interact. To Marx this alienated labour from what he has
originated by distances labour, from ongoing activity in the labour
market which they create their continue existence by doing the
cleaning and scabbing floors in the fashion way. .

Another alienated under capitalism is when workers is divided into
various labour market and they don’t have any say with the rules set
aside by their employer, good example is on paragraph [5&8] in attach
essay question. The writer laid some emphasises on the way the job
should be done; when vacuuming, you begin with the master bedroom;
when dusting, you should begin with the first room off the kitchen;
then you move through the rooms going left to right and top to bottom.
This explained how employer alienate the labour from their productive
activity, by restricting the maids from using their own method and
this will affect their full ranges of labour activity. Sometime when
the customer is at home, the homeowner make use of their supervisory
skill, [criticisms of their method and demand they perform unscheduled

In bourgeois society, men are estranged, in specifiable ways from the
ties to society, which alone confer their humanity upon them. As Marx
present it, the alienation of a man from his species being is couched
in term of capitalism, for example in practice, the life and the need
of individual appear as independently of his member of his society.
(A.Giddens 1987 p14). In 1844 manuscripts, of man’s being reduced to
the level of animals, and man alienated from his species being; under
the condition of capitalist production. Paragraph (10) after a week or
two on the job, I found myself moving robotlike moving from surface to

Marx believes that man is essentially a creative being whose natural
propensities the restrictive character of capitalism denies, examples
on attach essay question paragraph (7). They can take break (though
this probably ill-advised if the homeowner is on premises). In the
similar quote by the writer; at the maids, there were no break except
for a daily ten minute stop at convenience for coffee or lunch;
something like slice of pizza.

The enormous productive power of the capitalism generates
possibilities for the future development of man. In paragraph (14) of
the attach reading- if she’d had a college education and this message
reinforced by warning to the children that that’s the way they will
end up if they don’t try harder in school. This message shows that not
all-capitalist action alienated man from his productive activity but
brings determination and challenge for the teenager, because they
would like to grown up and be in control.

Freedom for Marx means power, which dominate over the circumstances
and condition in which individual lives, and capitalist from this
point of view, represent the apotheosis of unfreedom. Far from
abolishing the relation of dependency’’’ capitalist dissolved them
into a general form (1858 p01). Men their own history, but they do not
make it just as they please; they do not make under circumstances
directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.(D. Mclellan
1975 p45).

Marx explained that money is “a commodity, an external object, capable
of becoming the private property of any individual”(Sayer. D 1991 PG
67) Marx means, when you have money, you are in control of your life,
and also human species can do whatever they like when ever they want
to do it. The money you have determined your capacity in day to day
activity likes eating, clothing and recreation activity during your
leisure time.

Marx said, he characterises modern society as a world of ‘personal
independence based on dependence mediated by things’. Because of
purely atomic character commodity production, individual relations to
each other assume a material character of the control and conscious
individual action. Within capitalist people are just as interdependent
as socially related in other society; indeed they are mores, view its
globality and the extent of which it has divided labour.

According to Marx Commodity emerged under capitalism and it mode of
production and exchange influences the social relations of
individual. The owner of commodities find out, that the same division
of labour that turns them into independent private producers, also
frees social process of production and the relations of the individual
producer to each other within the process, from all dependence on the
will of those producer, and seemingly mutual. Independence of the
individuals is supplemented by a system of general and mutual
dependency by means of the production. After production commodities
have to be bought and sold and must be capable of satisfying one’s
need and exchange value.

The political powers so called is merely the organise owner of one
class oppressing other. The executive of modern state is but a
committee for managing the affair of the bourgeoisie. (D. Mclellan
p60). Marx belief authority in bureaucracy is hierarchical, and
according to Marx bureaucracy is a hierarchy of knowledge and
authority is the basis of it’s knowledge and the claims to knowledge
the basis of it’s authority (Sayer.D 1991 p 78) means individual
believe and respect the law of the authority (state).

Finally, the division between private and class individual exists
within and compromises the sense of collective identity of both
bourgeoisie and the proletariat. According to Marx, hence thy
organised power standing over against these isolated individuals, who
lived in the conditions daily reproducing this isolation, and can only
be overcome after long struggles.
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